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Beyond Comparativism

Israel's Welfare History in a Non-European Comparative Perspective

Arie Krampf


This article critiques Esping-Andersen's class-based theory of welfare regimes, demonstrating that the theory's scope conditions are not fulfilled by the Israeli case during the country's first three decades. It traces the transition of Israel's welfare regime and the consolidation of its welfare state in the 1970s. Based on historical analysis, the article points out two incongruities between Esping-Andersen's theory scope conditions and the case of Israel. Further, it argues that the transformation of Israel's welfare regime can be better explained by institutional historical theories that highlight the impact of the production regime on welfare and the significance of conflicts between high-skilled and low-skilled workers.

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Book Reviews

Yitzhak Reiter, Ned Lazarus, Uri Ben-Eliezer, Adi Mahalel, Orna Sasson-Levy, and Shalom Rosenberg

Moshe Ma'oz, Jews, Muslims and Jerusalem: Disputes and Dialogues (Eastbourne: Sussex Academic Press, 2021), 288 pp. Paperback, $39.95. Kindle, $37.95.

Yael Warshel, Experiencing the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: Children, Peace Communication and Socialization (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2021), 336 pp. Hardback, $99.99. Kindle, $80.00.

Shay Hazkani, Dear Palestine: A Social History of the 1948 War (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2021), 348 pp. Hardback, $90.00. Kindle, $21.49.

Nitzan Lebovic, Zionism and Melancholy: The Short Life of Israel Zarchi (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2019), 186 pp. Hardback, $80.00.

Ayelet Harel-Shalev and Shir Daphna-Tekoah, Breaking the Binaries in Security Studies: A Gendered Perspective of Women in Combat (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2020), 168 pp. Hardback, $74.00.

Anat Y. Zanger, Jerusalem in Israeli Cinema: Wanderers, Nomads, and the Walking Dead (London: Vallentine Mitchell, 2020), 166 pp. Hardback, $89.95.

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Editors' Note

Yoram Peri and Paul L. Scham

In the spring of 2011, the two of us took over the editorship of the newly renamed, and somewhat reshaped, official journal of the Association for Israel Studies. The former Israel Studies Forum thus became Israel Studies Review. The current issue is the last that we will be editing, after 25 issues comprising over 200 articles written by almost as many different authors, some of whom were chosen by more than a dozen guest editors who produced our special issues. About two hundred colleagues wrote book reviews and review essays, and many more have served as peer reviewers of articles submitted to us for publication.

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Israel as a Case Study in Processes of Nation-Building

Avi Bareli and Tal Elmaliach

The process of nation- and state-building in Israel could be viewed as unique because of its pace and intensive character. This is evident in much that is related to immigration, forging cultural coherence, the establishment of institutions, and the like. However, the extreme characteristics of its development also make Israel a valuable case study for a theoretical or comparative discussion because those conditions allow for a clear view of various social, cultural, and political aspects of nation-building. Therefore, using Israel as a case study can corroborate, refute, or challenge assumptions, patterns of analysis, or conceptions and terminologies in theories and models used in the humanities or the social sciences for understanding processes of nation-building.

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Israeli Militarism Reconsidered

Reframing the Independence Day Parade

Adi Sherzer


This article seeks to challenge conventional arguments about Israel's ‘cultural militarism’ through a comparative analysis of Independence Day parades of the 1950s. Using media reports, newsreels, and archival documentation, it examines the parades and compares them to other cases from around the world. The discussion focuses on three features of the Israeli parades: the widespread civil criticism of the place of the military in Independence Day celebrations; the role of the crowds and their proximity to the marchers; and the partly militaristic character of the parades themselves. While the article does not deny the obvious militaristic connotations of soldiers marching in the streets, it stresses the unique relationship between the armed forces and society in Israel and argues that militarism alone is not a sufficient analytic framework for analyzing Israeli society.

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The Jewish Centrality of Israel

The 1958 ‘Who Is a Jew?’ Affair as a Case Study

Ofer Shiff


This article examines reactions in the Jewish Diaspora to the ways the Diaspora is viewed in Israel, especially with regard to the Israeli self-perception of Israel as the ultimate spiritual and religious center for its Diaspora. These ideas are explored using as a case study the 1958 ‘Who is a Jew?’ controversy and David Ben-Gurion's famous correspondence with 51 ‘Jewish sages’ on the question of how to classify on an Israeli identity card a child born in Israel to a non-Jewish mother. Focusing on the responses of the Orthodox Jewish sages, I suggest that this correspondence may be understood as a reflection of different, sometimes conflicting understandings of the nature and meaning of Israel's centrality for Jews and Judaism.

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One Hand Giveth, the Other Taketh Away

A Feminist Perspective on Polity, Religion, and Gender in the Pre-state Period

Hanna Herzog


This article presents a feminist perspective on polity, religion, and gender in the Yishuv. It analyzes how each of these three categories is shaped by its intersection with the others while simultaneously constituting the whole. Two major decisions that were enacted in the 1920s—women's right to vote and the institutionalization of the Chief Rabbinate—serve as case studies of the formation of these categories, as well as of the creation of social boundaries, the politics of inclusion and exclusion, and the culture of political arrangements in the Jewish state-in-the-making. Women were both the focus of and significant actors in these multi-dimensional conflicts. They won their rights for equal citizenship in terms of suffrage, but lost their personal status rights as a result of the institutionalization of the Chief Rabbinate.

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The Pedagogy of Song

Teaching Israel through Music

Daniel Stein Kokin


Drawing upon the author's “Settlement in Israeli History” course, this essay argues that song can play a valuable and pedagogically economical role in Israel Studies and general humanities teaching, in both conveying meaning and initiating students in the art of close textual analysis. In particular, it showcases how the Israeli classics “Anu banu artzah” (We have come to the land), “The Ballad of Yoel Moshe Salomon,” and “Shir ha-‘emek” (Song of the Valley) can be deployed to stimulate vibrant and critical class discussions. In doing so, it also offers detailed readings of these songs and their place in Israeli culture.

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The Road Not Taken

Menachem Begin's Position on the Formation of a Democratic Regime for Israel

Maya Mark


This article explores the position taken by the Herut party and its leader, Menachem Begin, on fundamental issues of democracy and regime type. It analyzes the democratic model that Begin and Herut sought to promote during Israel's formative years: a presidential democracy with a clearly defined separation of powers preserved in a rigorous formal constitution that includes both judicial supremacy and a mechanism for judicial review. The article illuminates an important and unexplored chapter in Israeli historiography—the right wing's position on the formation of Israel's democratic regime—and addresses the ideological roots and foundations of the Likud movement in the spheres of government and law.

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The Third Angle in Israel Studies

Boundaries between Government and Non-governmental Entities in Early Israel

Paula Kabalo and Esther Suissa


Relying on theoretical foundations and conceptualizations in the literature on government–Third Sector relations, this article examines the motives and outcomes that impacted the relations between voluntary non-governmental entities and government organs after the State of Israel was established. Using the typology primarily of Jennifer Coston, in addition to those of Dennis Young and Adil Nagam, the article concentrates on three case studies reflecting those relations: disabled veterans and demobilized soldiers, immigrant associations, and the Israel Education Fund. All three cases show that additional actors lay claim to matters undisputedly under the state's responsibility. The relationships between these parties, we maintain, provide another angle to an understanding of mamlakhtiyut, the Israeli version of republicanism.